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Bayer plans to focus entirely on life science businesses

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bayer has announced that it intends, in the future, to focus entirely on its life science businesses—HealthCare and CropScience—and float MaterialScience on the stock market as a separate company. In this way Bayer is positioning itself as a human, animal and plant health company. The supervisory board unanimously has approved the board of management’s plans.

“Our intention is to create two top global corporations: Bayer as a world-class innovation company in the life science businesses, and MaterialScience as a leading player in polymers,” said Dr. Marijn Dekkers, Bayer CEO. Employment levels globally are expected to remain stable over the next few years.

Bayer’s center of gravity has greatly shifted toward its life science activities with the successful launch of novel pharmaceutical products, the pending acquisition of the over-the-counter products business of Merck and the development of the CropScience business. The aim is to continue the positive development of these activities in the future through further investment in growth. The life sciences currently already account for about 70% of Bayer’s sales and 88% of EBITDA before special items.

It plans to float the MaterialScience business on the stock market as a separate company within the next 12 to 18 months. A major reason for this move is to give MaterialScience direct access to capital for its future development. This access can no longer be adequately ensured within the Bayer Group due to the substantial investment needs of the life science businesses for both organic and external growth. Also, as a separate company, MaterialScience can align its organizational and process structures and corporate culture entirely toward its own industrial environment and business model.

The companies of the future Bayer Group had pro forma sales of approx. $37.3 billion in 2013. They will employ nearly 99,000 people, including about 29,500 in Germany. Corporate headquarters will remain in Leverkusen, Germany.

The company intends to raise its R&D spending, selectively strengthen early research at the interface between HealthCare and CropScience and continue driving the successful commercialization of the recently launched pharmaceutical products. Bayer expects these products—the anticoagulant Xarelto, the eye medicine Eylea, the cancer drugs Stivarga and Xofigo and the pulmonary hypertension drug Adempas—to have a combined peak annual sales potential of at least $9.6 billion.

A strategy and corporate culture aligned to technological and cost leadership, coupled with the ability to make its own investment and portfolio decisions, would give MaterialScience the best development prospects in a highly competitive market. That, said Dekkers, includes direct capital market access so that it would not have to compete with the life science businesses for investment funding in the future.

“MaterialScience is a very well positioned business that today operates very modern, competitive, large-scale facilities. We have steadily invested in these facilities, even in difficult economic times,” said Dekkers, citing the world-scale production facilities in Shanghai, China and the new TDI plant in Dormagen, Germany, which is to be officially inaugurated in December. Between 2009 and 2013 alone, Bayer invested a total of over $4.9 billion in property, plant and equipment and R&D for the MaterialScience business.

Following the intended flotation, MaterialScience will be Europe’s fourth-largest chemical company; it had global sales in 2013 of more than $14.2 billion (pro forma figure). The new company is planned to have a global workforce of roughly 16,800, including about 6,500 in Germany. It will have a new name and a separate identity, and will be headquartered in Leverkusen.

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